How many times have you heard or read a story that goes something like this;
“If (insert team name) could have just had a one score swing in a handful of games, they’d be at the top of their division instead of the bottom.”
It happens every season. Some teams rise and fall due to dominance, while others accomplish the same on seemingly apparent blind luck. Some dodge the injury bullets; some get taken out by them. Thankfully, the Houston Texans are on the right side of this narrative going into their bye week, which means they should come out of the time off even better.
Here’s some reasons to get excited about the second part of the Houston Texans’ 2018 season:
1. Deshaun Watson
...managed to survive a chest and lung injury to win games on short weeks while battling a simple task—breathing—that most humans take for granted. Last season when everyone was raving about the rookie phenom, DW4 was carrying a 61.8% completion rate; while his touchdown rate was higher, so was his interception rate. Although it took DW4 a few games to get his swagger back, he has it in spades. Just wait till he takes the field after nearly two weeks of rest.
2. J.J. Watt
...has already done more in 2018 than he did in 2017 and 2016 combined. He’s rolling into the bye with nine sacks, eleven tackles for loss and twenty-five solo tackles. He’s hit opposing quarterbacks sixteen times and smoked more offensive tackles than Franklin has briskets. Anyone who thought this dude wasn’t going to go back to being an All-Pro needs to look in the mirror and repeat these words “I was WRONG!” With a chance for the rest of the defense to get healthy, the second half of the season should give Watt a chance to turn up the heat and break the twenty-sack mark for an unprecedented third time.
Oh, Jadeveon Clowney should feast in the second half, too.
3. Houston’s wide receiver corps
...should put the defensive backfields of opposing teams on life support after the bye. The Washington Redskins are giving up an average of 254 yards per game through the air, the Cleveland Browns 285, the Colts 261, and the Philadelphia Eagles 269. When these teams face the passing attack of Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, Demaryius Thomas, Keke Coutee and Jordan Thomas, you can expect those numbers to rise like a tidal surge.
4. Bill O’Brien
... has shown his ability to manage games is slowly improving. We were very hard on B’OB when the team was sub-.500, but that’s the sort of tough love NFL head coaches sign on for when they take those million-dollar checks to the bank. It was encouraging to hear the announcers of last Sunday’s game mention O’Brien admitted to misusing Lamar Miller over the last two seasons. Now, if guys like D’Onta Foreman can get back on the field and contribute in the running game, if the offensive line can gel even more while getting healthy, O’Brien’s ability to take advantage of Point No. 3 above goes up exponentially.
5. Killer Houston Texans stats
Only three teams since the playoff system was expanded in 1990 have made the playoffs after starting 0-3; the odds of doing so are a whopping 2%. The 1992 San Diego Chargers, the 1995 Detroit Lions, and the 1998 Buffalo Bills all beat the odds, and Houston looks to be the next team to do so. Starting 0-3 and then going on a six-game win streak with the rest of the AFC South struggling almost assures a playoff berth. Speaking of percentages, the Bill O’Brien led Houston Texans win 96.4% of the time when leading at halftime. While unable to verify this, there’s a good chance this is an all-time high mark for any NFL head coach in the modern era.
While there won’t be any Houston Texans football this weekend, there’s also no chance Houston won’t still be sitting in their rightful place atop the AFC South when the bye ends and they take the field in Landover on November 18th. It’s a good time to be a Texans fan. Enjoy it. You’ve earned it.
What are you most excited about for the second half of the season?